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welcome to my on-line home!

i’m a druid, trained with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. i’m very telepathic and i have second sight. this was very alienating about twenty years ago when everyone thought that if you heard voices and saw beings that no one else could see you must be declared insane, locked up, and drugged with near lethal drugs until you no longer could.

i became a druid as a result of being told by one of the more helpful, kindly voices (spirit guide) that i should get into an organisation that actively encourages and helps telepathic communion with the beings of the invisible realms. i chose the Rosicrucians first off because i’d heard of them, and knew that they were well-respected. i’m still a member, though in recess.

it was through their book-lists and advertising that i came to OBOD. i edited its southern hemisphere newsletter serpentstar for a few years – one of the best things about the druid way and about pagans generally is that many truly believe in fairies, elves, spirit guides, gods, tree spirits, plant spirits and the elementals – all the beings that inhabit the realms just beyond human awareness, whose voices i’ve have chattering in my head and vying for my attention for most of my life. my guide was right. both organisations brought about helpful transformations – and i believe any of the established pagan and esoteric paths would have done the same – and placed me among fey-friendly people.

they helped me to redefine my inherited ‘family madness’ as hereditary seership – a great gift to share with the world. my mother kept telling me ‘it skips a generation’. my clairvoyant grandmother, a gifted healer, spent time in a mental hospital for her visions and voices and a cousin of mine was ‘cured’ of them by ‘psychiatric’ treatment consisting mostly of zombifying drugs.

others of my generation have varying levels of psychic ability too. our poor planet is getting wiser and is much kinder now to legitimate seers and psychics. in this blog, in future posts, i intend to tell you all about the fairies and gnomes and elves and brownies that come thronging to my garden as they throng to any garden where they’re made welcome, and i’ll tell you how to keep them happy and healthy – and what happens when you don’t.

i’ll also talk about the ghosts, guides, angels and other beings, that use our nexuses and pavillions. there’ll also be blogs about the fauns, satyrs, devils and daemons, gods and devas that live and work around and among us too. comments are welcome, especially from other seers – it’s so helpful to compare notes.

the cultivation management and magical use of nwyfre

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a skilfully enchanted amethyst atop a mallee wand

not all druids identify as animists, but many are, whether they know it or not. the word comes from the latin word for a living being or spirit, mind or soul. animism considers the entire universe to be alive and conscious, from atoms forged in the blazing centres of stars through biological life-forms such as the plants and animals of our own planet to the great celestial organisms we see as the stars in the night sky.

many animists add that this all-pervading livingness makes itself intelligible to fey people through human-like plant and animal spirit people, fauns, fairies, elves, angels, benign devils and daemons, elementals, dryads, aerial weather spirits, gnomes, pixies and the myriad nature spirits of many other cultures, the local native cultures in particular, who can help us to attune ourselves to the wider contexts of the extended network they help us to weave.

science tells us that the material world is made of atoms, each one infinitely packed with structure and flow, like the organs of animals or the structures within a cell. they are all impressionable and responsive to stimuli, and capable of intricate proactive negotiation with their neighbour atoms in forming molecules or in their free states. there’s a constant exchange of information occurring across the interfaces between subatomic particles, between atoms, molecules, cells, plants and animals, and between the celestial bodies comprising the galaxies and other great beings of the cosmos. in effect there is a network of communication which incorporates the food web and the human communications networks.

what this means to a magician is that we are in continuum not just with those networks of the primitive contact telepathy of the social animals we still are, or the food-web and ecological systems; or the zodiac magic between us and the planets and stars; or the elemental forces of the material world all around us although all of those are vitally important; but also to the networks we as a species generate: the culture, the mass media and the world wide web.

the sum total of impressions held in each aeons-old atom of earth is like a causal ocean, a ‘ceridwen’s cauldron’, a rich brew of events and qualities, principles and dimensions, garnered from myriad ‘text-rich’ events and encounters in deep space and deep within the atmosphere, on their way to becoming part of the earth and during their evolution ever since. whatever is communicated across any of the interfaces forming this universal network is the result of much process, sorting of data, filtering, censoring, deleting, expending, filing away, etc, and the resultant emanation of meaning-replete patterns of flow and disturbance is nwyfre.

it is mindfully controlled by the negotiation among all its parts. it can be the mere nuance of an awareness glimmering instantaneously in the heart of an atom as it comes into being in a distant galaxy not yet born; or the sights and sounds of the whole of a hollywood movie; or the symphony of subtle, complex, deeply meaningful impressions we receive when communing in silent or chattery meditation with a tree or when reading a book.

if, as i’ve said, this nwyfre forms a vital, mindful fabric of constantly changing stimulus and response, cause and effect, stasis and flow, not unlike the turbulence and flow of human experience, surely by understanding it we can learn to read it, manage it skilfully and use it magically to optimise our own personal experience and to practice good magic worthy of the name of ‘druid’ in our troubled world.

just as our bodies are made of vast constellations of aeons old atoms, so our minds are constellations of knowledge, memory and thought, incorporating detailed impressions from a lifetime of experience, including all the films, books and music that enrich our lives, to say nothing of the people and animals and even plants that we include among our family and friends and wider social milieu.

any human being is a fountain of nwyfre. that’s why ritual touching is part of life – part of the subliminal knowledge we have of each other. a conscientious druid is able to harness and direct the nwyfre, extracting it selectively from consenting sources or learning to generate it and use it in accord with a finely focused magical intention. this is one of the many things a well-constructed magic circle facilitates, extending and fine-tuning the magician’s focus, power and influence in much the same way as an astronomer’s telescope extends and specialises the vision of the star-gazer, or as a detailed map assists a traveller.

with or without a circle, it’s fairly easy to learn to see a flow of nwyfre-rich energy using a wand or staff or a crystal with at least one good ‘shooting’ point, or just your fingers, at least to start with. you may just spontaneously happen to find yourself ‘energised’, exhilarated or vibrant with some exciting radiance from dancing or gardening or meeting with friends, or you may prepare yourself by casting a circle and doing a simple or elaborate light body ritual followed by three awens for attunement, or using chant, drumming or ritual dance.

when you feel radiant with power, hold your magical tool or your bare hands close to your solar plexus and breathe steadily, willing the nwyfre from your body to flow into the object and fill it.

you might chant something like ‘healing power in my hands (wand, crystal, etc), magic power in my fingers (etc), or just ‘magic fingers, healing hands’ or you might try a dramatic, commanding ‘healing

nwyfre flow!’ speaking words aloud or in our mind helps us be focused and articulate about our intentions, which helps the magic. this flow is easy to see, especially against a dark backdrop. it is similar to the energy that can be seen flowing between your fingertips if you hold them an inch or so apart and bring them slowly together. in a healthy, energised system this radiance appears sparkling clear.

you can easily train yourself to see the radiant electromagnetic field, which is a major ‘smart’ carrier of nwyfre, especially surrounding your fingertips. it is at its brightest and most active when you are in tip-top health, happy and confident and have optimised your relations with your social, natural and magical environment enough to have the good will of most of your neighbours, since like it or not we are all contributing to a collective mentality and nothing is more empowering than the common consent.

even a beginner can successfully charge magical items such as charms and amulets, or cast exquisite circles for seasonal rituals, fizzing with good, exciting, effective magic, using a wand, hands, symbolic items or crystals or whatever charged in this way. or it can be discharged beneficially into the life field of a sick friend or animal, plant, garden, city or town, or even the earth itself via whatever symbols you choose to attune for the purpose.

it is important to understand that the flow we see here is not ‘in’ everything, but is like a specific medium which carries nwyfre, and flows around the all material objects, even subatomic particles

and vast galaxies, like the interstitial fluids that carry the biochemically coded information around the body of an animal or plant. it’s real and dowsers can detect it, and it registers on scientifically designed sensors as real energy capable of having real physical effects.

there are good reasons to believe it is not inert – not much in nature is – but interacts with the information it carries in a way that you might call ‘smart’, trafficking intelligently organised nwyfre about from one part of the system to another, from the atmosphere to the birds, for example, and vice versa, keeping us all separate but engaged in a kind of eternal conversation, in the loop, so to speak, in accord with the wisdom of the higher collectivities, the spirits, devas and angels, for example, in negotiation with the inner potential mediated through our genes and our humanity. or from the tip of a well-crafted wand to a collection of symbolic items selected for inclusion in a druid’s egg.

the interstitial fluids of a human being convey chemical information, while the electromagnetic field is rich in what psychics call psychometric energy. it’s a confusing term, referring to the psychic impressions that certain gifted people can gain bringing past scenes to vivid consciousness upon holding an object such as a ring or watch that once belonged to someone else. the psychic might see and hear actual scenes from that person’s life, or from the past experience of the actual object held. so whether you are reading it or not, it is high resolution data which different beings can extract their own species specific experience from.

this is as true of objects as of people. so the nwyfre channelled by the ring in the psychometrist’s hand is the equivalent of a psychical experience or a dream or a vision in human awareness. of course it is possible to argue that the ring has no consciousness of the experience flowing through it when a human being wears it next to the skin, within his/her electromagnetic field, but how could anyone know? for all our pride in human science with its most advanced knowledge of the biochemistry of thought and emotion in human beings, the ‘seat’ of consciousness remains a beautiful, totally elusive mystery.

as so often the case in magic, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. anyone who takes a few simple steps in developing a working interface with a properly enchanted magical tool risking little or nothing in a few moments of suspended disbelief now and then will observe without doubt that the tool responds as a responsible being in its own right. wands communicate intelligently, crystals bond with you, druid’s eggs call you and feed from you and need you to incubate them, and stranger things happen as you go deeper in. it is therefore customary to address your tools with great respect and treat them as kindly and considerately as you would a room-mate or dancing partner.

allow, for example, that they have minds of their own. they are constantly streaming experience and communicating experience-rich energy to everything around them, just like everything else. experienced practitioners will agree that your magical life becomes deeper, richer, friendlier and more meaningful if you talk to your wands, show concern for their welfare and ask with pleases and thank yous, and give them treats: a song, a poem, incense, a ring.

everything contributes impressions to the nwyfre circulating and percolating through the material world. it’s like white noise, and like the colour white, can be made to show its inner spectra. theoretically it should be possible to do this in an infinite number of ways, but nature uses a restricted palette, leaving a major part of the artistry to us.

magic is a kind of metaphysical technology. it uses mind over matter to influence events using metaphysics, governing the flow of change, the shifts of emphasis, the management of morphic resonance etc., through symbols, ritual, metaphors, stories, myths, fantasy and folklore and the sentimental and practical poetic of everyday life.

almost all of this magic involves the management of nwyfre, so it is worth dedicating some time and energy to the study of it. a web search will show you how others are using the word, and how they make use of whatever they think it is. keep adding to and enriching your sense of what it is by trying to maintain an awareness of it in everyday encounters. meditation upon the word itself is sure to be rewarded by an enhanced sense of what it means.

advanced meditators should theoretically be able to penetrate to the collective sense of the word and thus intuit a deeper sense of its meaning, but most of us are not quite so advanced and besides, our cooperation in crafting new meanings for these old magical words is all part of the magic.

naturally the most important magical tool is yourself, and the nwyfre you carry and communicate will pervade your magic, so let it be healthy, vital and smart, and may its radiance be for the good of all beings.

building bridges: sharing of nwyfre

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never mind et intelligences – can trees communicate?

being a natural philosopher at heart i like to have a reasonable basis for my belief. as a druid in mixed society, when my beliefs are questioned i appreciate the credibility that goes with having a sound rationale. i try to ensure that a scientific description of the material world supports my belief in nwyfre as a flow of information-dense effects through the network of communication that interconnects all material beings. so i will begin with a glance into the magic of the rich and varied world that is within the range of our ordinary perception and proceed later to the so-called ‘invisible’ worlds that exist beyond that range.

if i stand near a tree, its radiance mingles with mine. they interact and both are changed, charged with the excitation of this new stimulus, which we communicate to everything around us. the same happens if a rock fetches up under a tree, or in my hand. as a human being i have special senses – of sight and sound, smell, taste and touch – which read the radiances of the material world, streaming data to my brain where i construct my perception of reality. this means i can create much more dynamic interfaces than i otherwise could, reading much more of the detail encrypted in just the light, for instance, simply by looking at things, stones, trees, yes, but also far-off mountains, the rising sun, the distant stars and galaxies, and indeed everything that radiates or reflects the colours of the spectrum of light. in dividing the light in this way i am part of the processing of light – light changes as it changes me. i respond to it and it responds to me.

these exchanges may be subtle, but as a human being, i have a brain as well as senses, a brain that generates a mind that categorises and stores information selectively according to nuances more subtle than i can bring to consciousness. it’s a mind that gives or finds in or for everything a meaning, and it responds to everything with feeling, understanding and imagination to categorise, judge, wish for, repel or condition the nwyfre in all sorts of ways. all the time i am feeding back my responses to the whole through the beings nearest me, and contributing to its evolution.

all of this is dynamic and effective and all of it is magical. the power that the mind exercises over matter, which medical scientists know can cause psychosomatic illness when random, repressed or abused, can also enhance life when used consciously and may be used creatively for all kinds of exciting and beneficial magical effects beyond healing. we have before us the task of learning how to use it.

the universe is logical; our physiology is logical and we think logically, but within the infinitely packed reality we inhabit, our ever-evolving minds are as yet not capable of comprehending more than a relatively small range of logical systems of limited extent, which we work very hard to extend, for example, through education and intelligently sought-out experience and the mass media developed for the purpose. the magic of mind over matter is also logical, and it is by understanding the default logic, which doesn’t foreground human needs over those of other beings, that we learn to advance beyond it and contribute to the evolution of the more human-friendly logicistics of the metaphysicist’s reality. nature doesn’t mind if our planet dies – we do, and we can save it by taking control of our proper share of the planetary magic.

logic maintains and manages the relationships between systems in the universe. some of the logic governing physics is so simple that its laws can be written as mathematical formulae. other logic, such as that of children’s play, is whimsical, witty and subtle, often submerged and not obvious, with so many variables that it takes child psychologists years of study to begin to discern it. our species is timidly and cautiously learning to reason logically, experimenting creatively with meaning, relationship and idea, observing the energetics and transformative power of ideas, observing the poetic force of thought, feeling and experience, beginning to understand how attitude can heal or harm us, learning the consequences of faulty, simplistic or misapplied logic along with those of sound reasoning. and in doing so we are learning to believe in the magic.

the more logically we reason, the more realistically we view the world and the more appropriately we interact with it. even people who seem to be illogical are simply following an inner logic of their own that does not necessarily mesh seamlessly with that of others, though at least equally sound. it may even be less flawed than the common logic, not more so. we should respect all paths even at that level, even if they clash with our own, perhaps even paths less respectful than our own.

all this is obvious when we consider the visible world, and equally true when we begin to search the edges of our consciousness for evidence of what exists beyond. so far i have considered only the material universe, without addressing the question of aether, the light body, the astral plane and so on. the reason for this is that we need to be sure of our material body’s clarity and to affirm what so many spiritual pathways still often deny – the validity of the here-and-now life of the biological body we live in and through.

the surface of any object infinitesimally small to infinitely vast, including humans, receives and responds to information about its environment. a mirror reflects reality. images are created in it by virtue of what happens when light strikes its surface. many birds and animals are imitative, and will, upon receiving impressions from other animals, mimic them, or mirror them. in the zodiac reflections of the great celestial patterns generated in the intricate spiral dance of galaxies and stars, and planets and their moons contribute to and reflect the myriad forces affecting the lives of small mammals on earth, including our human selves.

we’re used to seeing and responding to, mimicking and mirroring the actions of our fellow creatures, of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects etc. we do it mindfully, and who’s to say trees don’t? being motile, our gestures are writ large, purpose-built for the sensoria we’ve evolved. we can see our fellow animals responding to hunger, love, fear, joy, anger, pain and the passions of oestrus, social competition and the hunt. it’s different when we come to appreciating the life experience of a plant.

the plant seems still, usually needing a breeze or other disturbance to move its leaves, the roots fixed firmly in the ground. we can’t see the writhing, twisting, bustling activity of its growth – time-lapse photography had to be invented to show us that, and even then, its dance has not necessarily evolved as a means of communication. it tells us about the growth habits of plants, but except in a very few anomalous species does not seem to demonstrate responsivity to fellow creatures, and tells us nothing about the inner experience of the plant.

microbiology does lift the veil a bit. it’s a precise science and is currently making amazing breakthroughs into the biochemical responsivity of plants. the gushes of pheromones and bating of vital processes, the alterations in tensions and force-fields within the tissues of plants in response to threats such as herbivores, bad weather or pathogens is comparable to that which we find in animals, where we take it for granted it is associated with feeling, with awareness, with intelligence. plants have a ‘fear’ response, although just as it is chemically different from our own, it is probably experientially different to the same degree and corresponding to the chemical difference. and plants have attitude: it’s basic to their spirituality and anyone can discern it. people often joke about the perkiness of petunias or the bombast of a much-frilled gladiolus, the feistiness of a young pine tree or the gaiety of a bed of annuals. take it seriously. it’s a major key to the fun and magic our favourite garden flowers have brewing for us.

plant chemistry centres around the flamboyant, light-hearted, extravagant, dancing, delightful magnesium, while that of animals centres around dull, plodding, solid, pattern-seeking, hard-working, reliable iron. therefore a sensitive study of magnesium and iron are useful to an ovate seeking to bridge the communication gap between them. basic chemistry can be a useful starting point. watching magnesium expend its capacity for inter-reaction with air in an extravagant flare with little energy input while iron absorbs and consumes more and more energy before glowing dully, and still more before passing through the red, orange and yellow part of the spectrum before flaring much more sedately, can help us to understand what sort of bridge across what kind of gradations in what spectra of nature we have to build. same sort of process, but at a different speed and with comparable but different results.

how do plants experience us? plants have no visible organ that corresponds to an eye or an ear. we can see only what our very different physiology allows us to see. certain fine highly active structures in the neurology of the brain are in form so similar to tree branches that they are termed ‘dendrites’ after a greek word for a tree. it’s not difficult to understand that though they serve different physiological forms, having similar shapes brings them into a special relationship through the natural geometry of forms. morphic resonance begins to be a feature. humanity needs to be doing much more research into these areas of plant study, both as scientific studies and as the magical explorations that are much more relevant here to ovates in particular.

now at about this point, we can turn our attention to the extended reality that becomes accessible to us as we open our psychic eyes. we have to acknowledge that there is another gap to be bridged: the gap between our scientific, objective understanding and our own personal subjective experience. we have in our support the testimony of generations of fey peoples and fey individuals, accounts of whose daily experience have contributed to the lively traditions in many cultures worldwide of ‘plant spirits’ in human or human-like form, traditions that persist in the mainstream imagination as myth even though seldom still believed in – and always have and no doubt always will.

people who practice organic gardening often become conscious of plant spirits. the findhorn foundation http://www.findhorn.org/ revived our current consciousness of them. rudolph steiner http://wn.rsarchive.org/lectures/19101208p01.html taught us more about them. cultures worldwide are currently contributing to our knowledge of them in australia and the world wide web is currently vibrant with the buzz of their magic.

anyone who takes the time to approach the idea of communicating with plants seriously can usually fairly readily obtain a glimpse, or other equally clear and unmistakable impression, of a dryad, provided they start with a domestic or traditionally befriendable tree. (apple tree dryads are willing, patient and druid-friendly teachers, having been family members for millennia and are now ogham trees as well, and apple wands are easy to enchant).

so the bridge we have to build between our experience and that of plants is apparently being built with equal willingness and enthusiasm from both sides. and the gap between science and subjective or ‘psychic’ experience is not so difficult to bridge.

immersion in nature or gardens and parks is necessary for successful communication with plant spirits. if you can’t get out and about, work through pictures in books or on line. i’ve seen plant spirits pop up out of seed-packet pictures. reading about nature as scientific, faeried, whatever, can deepen and widen the experience and be very inspiring. but one thing is certain: none of it works without an open mind.

this article first appeared in SerpentStar, the newsletter the order of bards ovates and druids in australia. here: http://serpentstar.wordpress.com/

 

heidi was a troll, the billy goats were very very gruff, and peter is still the goat boy.

goats are angels of death.
death is the devourer of lives.

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goats know all about death and dying. they can’t help it, they get killed. it’s part of what they incarnate for, they are prey animals, they are food. we’re their predator, we protect them from other predators. they are born within the jaws of nature in the wild, and in intensive production units and on our farms and farmlets and in backyards.

the angels of death are like master chefs. they do not present the meal half-cooked. death likes the lives it devours to be replete with experience, steeped in the dreaming until old and wise and mellow through and through, like a good goat cheese; therefore they’re facilitators of longevity.

goaty attitudes also make easy the dying of an early death for those who must die young or in their prime because (to switch to a goat-friendlier metaphoria) they are experts in approaching death, and they enable us to share their death-wise worldviews.

a lifetime with goats gives a human access to great ease and comfort with the fact of death and dying as a healthy part of a life that goes beyond the little one we’re in here on planet earth,

just as a rosebush (loved of goats) goes beyond any one of its leaves. past present and future and beyond time as we measure it. death is a stock boundary, with gates. there are right and wrong ways to approach and go through it. when you get it right it is painless and easy, not more traumatic than taking off an old coat and going outside for a bit.

It is wrong to put fear of one’s own death out onto goats. They do not fear death, clattering back and forth with great delight over that rainbow bridge of death to that grass which is always greener,

which does exist as they can show us because we all (will)help(ed) it to manifest as it comes out/came out/will-come out of the dreaming, adding our ingredients of mythic goat-lore to the cosmic cauldron of its creation.

goats don’t fear death; they consent readily to it unless they’ve built strong bonds of affection and have invested deeply in goat ego – human ego interfaces and haven’t been warned in time to disinvest. some pets and aging milkers are advanced there, and often negotiate for long lives, and so do otherwise acquiescent or willing does when they are in kid, especially those deriving traits from prestigious genetica, e.g., those advanced in inter-special communications, such as pets, family milking goats, goat breeders herds and small dairy herds where the individuation process is favoured.

o spirit of the computer, o soul of this laptop…

my laptop computer, which is an avatar of the well-known, high order elv-olmho-angeliac faerie-wizard from the ethereal plane, Pilastic the Matt-Black, who is also my spiritual husband in his dark morph, so to speak, is malfunctioning. he is working well in all respects, in good health, cheerful enough though stressed somewhat now and then when labouring under the delusion that the info that my amd drivers are absent or not properly installed means something to me who has clicked reinstall several times, but do as i might, the display has gone pear-shaped, is skew-whiff, is out of kilter, seriously distorted and everything looks wwwooooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddddd -er than it should. so i’m peering into the screen and pouring in magic wish nwyfre and poking about with spells and at last I asked the computer wtf? and,there was that holy moment when the ambiance holds its breath to announce the magic – the computer spoke and this it did say: ‘it’s cybopsychosomatic’..

now of course that maketh thenth, loyal readers, for oft and anon have i importuned its screen while in dark morph to act for me as a scrying mirror and as the fr. say, mentez mentez il y en reste toujours quelque-chose. the screen starts believing it, clicks ‘like’ a lot, being not quite yet differentiated from me and i’m having a real good time, and shares in all directions simultaneously in texts obscure and radiant, and well, silicon needs no intro as an info-geekery as sentient as any, though not as we know it but imo must start to get to know it, otherwise… ooh. and the poetic of plastic  – y’know they make dolls out of that stuff and give it to kids to engage with dramatically for fun. so nearly organic…

‘well,’ it said, ‘that’s what you do with your display. so i mirror you. that’s what i do with mine.’

i promised to try to stop, to be a better role model, and to let my spiritual perfection manifest in my material avatar’s soul, mind, spirit and body. look i do try, i earnestly do.

so anyway, i have to work on my display, and laptop is off to the vet. .

turtles all the way – er – in.


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i’ve listened to the scientists and this is my reply;

respectfully i must advise, we don’t see eye to eye.

my animistic atoms making predetermined shapes,

mechanically intending everything from stars to apes,

just flout the simple sanity of your established science

and seem to treat the ‘evidence’ with cavalier defiance.

 

you say that planet earth is really not a living being;

it doesn’t grow or reproduce – going by what you’re seeing.

but eggs and pupae, they don’t grow, nor do they reproduce

and who knows what this earth will do when we’re no further use?

it goes beyond the evidence to say: ‘it is alive’,

but just as much to say: ‘it’s not’, however you contrive.

 

astronomers with bated breath observe that stars evolve.

they explicate the physics in equations that they solve.

the time-scale is enormous, so we shouldn’t judge too soon –

it won’t be long before our genes ‘inseminate’ the moon!

we don’t know how the planets form – we’ve only made a guess

but why assume that they are lacking sexual prowess?

 

some scientists talk of termite mounds, made by, but not, biota

suggesting earth’s inanimate: i’m not fazed one iota.

our bones are inorganic things, secreted by our cells,

just like a beetle’s carapace, or nautiluses’ shells.

our sial, like a carapace, protects the inner flows

that roil so metabolically; and life upon it grows!

 

 

another speaks of darwin, in defence of whom she says

all creatures are accounted for, all qualities and traits.

that gives me pause until i see that yes! she’s partly right –

continuum from go to whoa – a brilliant, brave insight!

if sentimental purpose crafts the atoms in a star

why not what’s in big bangs themselves? that isn’t so bizarre!

 

my viewpoint’s still post-modern (not yet moved to what comes next)

but I still maintain that matter should be seen in terms of ‘text’

with networks just like world-wide-webs jam-packed with brawling memes

(or, since my term’s more general, perhaps we’ll call them  ‘emes’,

a healthy little suffix that can serve us as a word)

a ‘textrichness’, articulate? that isn’t so absurd.

 

genes craft all traits of plants and beasts and do so from within.

but processes are just as smart within an atom’s skin.

so each big bang, when first it starts to outwardly explode

is explicating latent text according to a code.

and now that’s said, it looks to me so simple and so plain –

i s’pose it does to you, too, so i’ve no need to explain.

 

to sum up, with a metaphor: a gene is hawking’s turtle

sustained by inner turtles (now, look deep – try not to hurtle

precipitately inward) with each subatomic one

sustained by other inner ones, and when all’s said and done

this turtle soup inside a gene can ‘quark’ ad infinitum.

it’s turtles, going in not down! come on! they’re there! why fight ’em?

animal intelligence

Animal intelligence:

The main objection that scientists and rationalists make to the idea of communicating more meaningfully with animals than most people normally do with their dogs, cats and horses is that the animals are not intelligent enough.  They claim to know that animals’ brains are simply not specialised for complex thought and they have no brain centres specifically designed for the use of language.  This objection rests on two assumptions: that intelligence is proportional to the size and complexity of the brain and that the communication of complex ideas is only possible between beings with human-like (cerebral) intelligence.

But both these assumptions have been challenged in recent research into animal intelligence, surprisingly, in research relating to animals with very simple brains or no brains at all.  Echidnas have exhibited extraordinary intelligence in tests devised by animal behaviourists, although their brains are very simple. Many stories are told about octopus intelligence for which no scientific explanation can be given.

Kangaroos also show intelligence – reasoning, memory and rapid learning ability – about the same as a dog, but they too have very small, simple brains for their body weight and so are not given credit for it – except by people who live with them in close contact (they are excellent foster children, intelligent, humorous and affectionate, and very respectful).

People who work and live in close association with animals such as cats, dogs, horses, sheep, cows, elephants, seals and goats do not doubt that the intelligence of their animals is much higher than present day science can account for.  Whales and dolphins with their brains rivalling human brains in terms of size in proportion to their body weight and degree of convolutedness are admitted to be highly intelligent, but it is clear to anyone observing them that they use their brains in quite different, non-human ways until called upon by natural or artificial circumstances to become intelligible to human beings.

Understanding this is the key to understanding what limits human ability to see into and appreciate the intelligence of other animals.  What we must understand is that human intelligence tends to be fairly narrowly focused on human affairs, is species-specific and conditioned by nature and experience to block most of the multitudes of vast spectra of event and effect that constitutes the fabric of reality.  Human intelligence makes manifest to humans that selection of sensation and inspiration that combine to make our awareness. It is vast and rich to us but tiny in comparison with the infinitudes of data in our environment, mediated as it must be through the limited array of logistical acrobatics that make up human intellect.

A death-adder must be assumed to have intelligence which makes manifest to a death-adder the tiny selection of sensation and inspiration and the limited array of logistical acrobatics that make up death-adder intelligence.  The human body is designed to support an intelligence system that is tightly and complexly logical in very specific ways, and that necessitates a large much convoluted brain.  A reptile’s body is among other things an intelligence system that operates in ways our intelligence does not yet give us much insight into, but there is no reason to suppose that it is more limited that ours.  We are evolving specialised organs of thought which are located in our brains, and we’re enchanted by what’s going on there.  Unencumbered by such a noisy apparatus, do other animals make all their sensations selectively more intelligible to themselves through their whole bodies, or through organs we haven’t yet understood, than we do ours, selected out as most of them are by the self-enchanted activities of our brains?  Cerebral intelligence in humans, intelligence beyond out ken in death adders?

I mention death adders because they seem very intelligent.  They watch knowingly while being taunted, and knowing how deadly their venom is, they act morally – until pushed beyond endurance they refuse to strike!

Any animal, human or not, can be seen as an individual, as a member of a culture or society – herd, tribe, localised population etc, and many societies make up a species.  A multitude of diverse species make up our planet’s biota, plant and animal.  Event-sensitive beings (and even atoms are event-sensitive) are the experiential and intellectual resources of our planet, and are therefore as diversely specialised for as wide and yet specific a variety of experiential selection-making as is necessary to constitute a planetary intelligence far greater than that of any one of its components and no doubt greater in toto even than the sum of its components.

Ant colonies are examples of animals in which radically specialised individuals are inter-dependent in such a way that the colony behaves like a single animal made up of several hundred or more semi-individuals whose actions are concerted by the queen who is entirely dependent on them.  Humans too can be seen in this way, although their socialisation is much more apparently complex and flexible.  The experience we mediate for the planet as individuals is mediated to her also by our cultures as a whole although it isn’t easy for us to discern this as we are inside it.  Our planet thinks, feels, dreams and experiences as much and as effectively through her jungles and buffalo herds as she does through her cities – in vastly different ways, but neither is more intelligent than the other.

We can communicate effectively with animals only to the extent that our experiential selections overlap with theirs. Look at the diagram.  The blue represents an unknown ‘quantity’. So does the yellow.  They may or may be equal.  The point is, we don’t know.

If the overlap is small, we must question the arrogance that says that the other animal’s intelligence always only extends as far as the green zone above and ignores the inevitability of there being a blue zone for the animal probably at least equal to our yellow one – and also the arrogance that says that there is only one -way learning happening across the interface – that is, that the other animal’s intelligence has been passively extended by communing with ours, while ours has nothing to gain from their ‘inferior’ minds.

When we transcend this speciesism, we can begin to look for the animal’s intentions to communicate with us, no longer imagining that all the intention is ours, the animal being passively receptive and responsive or not to our teaching.  In their terms, we become a lot more intelligent!